being a sibling of a child with special needs

As a working parent, I realized... My last baby is running now, and he’s not slowing down. When the siblings reach adulthood, one sibling may be expected to take on increased responsibility as a caregiver. She is also a guest blogger for The Huffington Post. It’s fulfilling. Caring for a child with special needs often involves large doses of individualized attention. But you can’t indulge on junk food because you know your sibling can’t and you don’t want to rock the boat. Whether you’re dealing with a child with ADHD, Autism, or any sort of medical, developmental, or mental health diagnosis, the fact is that it requires a lot of emotional and physical energy from you as a parent. “It’s not easy being a mother. And the siblings may feel they are not getting the attention they crave. Being the sibling of a child with special needs is not easy. Lisa is the Director of Events at Zenith Marketing Group, an insurance brokerage firm located in Freehold, NJ. Parents can take heart as they think of the long-term benefits that will enrich their children and help them learn to shape their challenges into successes. Special needs siblings need someone to focus on them. I get it, kids normally don’t like veggies, kids want junk food. But all of that changes when one sibling has an intellectual disability like Down's syndrome or autism. I see it already and you just started kindergarten. Some studies by therapists have shown that children who have siblings with functional diversity aren’t less well adjusted. Katelyn McInerney, a junior at Mountain Brook High School whose younger sister has special needs and learning disabilities, founded the group. Even though watching Kara get teased was hard for Justin, he also notes, “I think it made me less likely to laugh at or tease other people.” Kids who grow up in a home with a special needs sibling typically become dependable, compassionate, and loyal adults. Even if they are the younger sibling and have never experienced life any other way, seeing their friends’ lives may cause comparison and feelings of grief as they age. Maybe they are at countless doctor appointments, giving out endless medications, preparing special meals or even physically taking care of your sibling. Feb 15, 2016. “Siblings often feel guilty about any negative feeling such as jealousy,” says Hupp. It’s purposeful. She has big emotions, seemingly inheriting the feelings of those around her. “I attribute my sense of understanding and compassion to growing up with my sister,” says Michelle Hupp, sister to Felicia, an adult with Down Syndrome. RELATED: In Defense of the Wild Child She is persistent, never backing down from what she wants. Kids, or even adults, who don’t understand other people’s differences may make insensitive comments, ask inappropriate questions, or just make fun of someone who is different from them. I wonder where she went. When children are around a sibling with serious medical challenges, lowered immunity, or special needs, kids may feel worried or afraid about the health of their sibling. It’s hard work. How have we arrived here so quickly? i found this and instantly was grateful for your words. Not only is the sibling relationship affected, but parents usually have less time to spend with their typically-developing children. They don’t get how small they are in the big world; they don’t get how small life’s moments are in the span of a lifetime. I’m dragging my feet. I quietly observe you and your sibling’s interactions and my heart just wants to burst with pride and joy. When children are around a sibling with serious medical challenges, lowered immunity, or special needs, kids may feel worried or afraid about the health of their sibling. And her excitement and love didn’t stop once they arrived. The next, I’m stuck at home, learning all alone. These relationships ride an uneasy tide of intermittent emotional storms as siblings witness outbursts that rattle their own foundations. Big Kids (Ages 6 to 12) I know it feels as if your needs are never put first. When you’re a kid everything in life seems so much bigger. None of these feelings are fun to talk about and often result in guilt causing the children to feel even more resentment to the sibling because they have these negative feelings. She doted on both her brothers, always singing to them, reading them bedtime stories, and being ready with a pacifier should one fall. As your child learns to wait for their parent to be free to help them, they will learn patience and self-control. There are many positives for your child in having a sibling with disability. How do you teach a child who has every opportunity and never goes without food, clothes, or toys that this isn’t the norm, especially when all of her friends never go without either? Being the parent of a child with special needs and having one for a sibling are two completely different experiences. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. I see you rising up at every opportunity. Being the Sibling of a Child with Special Needs By Dottie Enrico May 2, 2016 Their brothers and sisters have special needs, but these children face their own unique challenges—and opportunities for growth. Kids may act out, become overly emotional, or appear aloof to what is going on around them. A variety of positive characteristics develop. Kids may feel they get less attention, or that their parents spend more time caring for the sibling. As a parent, it helps to think of the long-term benefits and help your child shape their challenges into successes. The bond you have is everlasting. I know this because you are being taught the greatest lessons in life every single day without even knowing it. Proven techniques to build REAL connections. 5 Things Parents Can Do To Help Calm The Morning Routine. Siblings of special needs kids may feel the need to constantly stand up for their sibling, explain their situation to others, or may be the brunt of teasing themselves. After years of watching someone they love get teased, siblings of special needs kids will naturally develop a strong sense of loyalty to those they care about, as well as a strong sense of compassion towards others. Maybe you have taken long journeys just to visit that one special doctor who might be able to help your sibling and all you really wanted was to go swimming that day. You are a beautiful soul with so much love to give. I hope you will remember this letter when times get emotional or difficult. Siblings can also serve as targets of rage, blame and provocation. Motherhood is a lot of things. How is everyone doing?⁣ The only noise outside the hum, like gentle snoring, from various appliances was the creak-crack-creak from the rocking recliner I had vacated. Am I standing still? Every single moment of the day it is being embedded into your heart and soul. He’s outgrown the onesies. To my fellow siblings of children with special needs: I’m going to give you some unsolicited advice. Maybe you have walked into your parents arguing, frustrated or crying over your sibling’s health. So you’re the sibling to someone with special needs. I blinked, and now that same precious babe I first saw wiggling around on the ultrasound screen is now picking out his own shoes and socks, and he’s racing me to the minivan. He turned his head and said, “Oh, it’s you, Papa.” His face fell, his body relaxed, and a mixture of disappointment and relief played... My son was about three months old when I came across the blurb in a magazine. Unfortunately, kids with special needs are often the targets of teasing. They need to talk to someone who won’t judge them for being jealous of their sibling with special needs. (, Make Wanderlust a Must: Raising Kids Who Love to Travel. 5 Ways To Connect With Your Kids Right Now. However, only one of you is responsible for being … Parenting can be a wild and wonderful journey: We’re responsible for another living being’s health, welfare, and happiness. RELATED: They Tell You To Hold the Baby, But No One Warns You How Fast He Grows And he’s just about outgrown his crib. I see you. Both times, she was elated. • Leave your child notes, text messages or phone calls. I remember the days I told my daughter about my pregnancies with each of my boys. While all of these challenges are realistic, kids also develop a wide variety of wonderful characteristics from their experience such as kindness, patience, compassion, acceptance of differences, helpfulness, and empathy. She has written guest articles for the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, The Mighty & Her View From Home. Love is the greatest thing in the world and it should never be taken for granted, not even for one second. I hope you will always remember you are loved beyond measure and destined for greatness. Parents do their best to treat their children fairly and spend equal amounts of time caring for each child. I better double-check, before I fall behind. You see the patience they exhibit when caring for him or her, and it’s being buried into your soul. Stressful situations at home. By including your child in this discussion, you can reduce their fear of the unknown and reassure them as well. She rubbed my belly excitedly, lovingly participated in the decoration of their nurseries, and embraced everything about being a big sister. We watched, waited, and around the corner crept a wide-eyed toddler. They may not be able to express their feelings the same way that an adult would. Being the sibling of a special needs child can add to your child’s personal strengths. I would most certainly agree that being a sibling of a special needs child does make you grow up a bit faster and have more responsibilities than your average kid but if anything that just helped shape who I am today and I can’t say that’s a bad thing. What do special needs siblings really need? Kids may act out, become overly emotional, or appear aloof to what is going on around them. In fact, quite the contrary. Talking it through and having someone listen and take them seriously will help your child feel loved and included. And it wasn’t long after I had my first son I realized. Upsides of having siblings with disability. I see how awesome you are. All of these qualities are wonderful and valued in our society. I could go on and on about how proud I am of you. She is passionate about sharing her father’s journey with cancer and bringing attention the difficult path a caregiver must walk. While there is no doubt that they love their sibling with special needs, the feelings that can arise during childhood are often complicated. Maybe you can’t eat certain foods because your sibling can’t and you just really want McDonald’s chicken nuggets but to keep the household calm, you eat broccoli. The advantages of having a sibling with special needs are making you a more empathetic, more responsible and more resilient human being. I see everything you are doing for your sibling and I am so proud of you. You see the love your parents have for your special sibling, and it’s being embedded into your heart. You’re just a kid yourself trying to figure out where you belong in this great, big world. Just as parents of special needs children often need time to grieve, siblings need to grieve in their own ways too. What I Learned From Having A Sibling With Special Needs Hayley Spence. They will also learn to put other’s needs before their own. Some of these feelings may be difficult to overcome and a parent may not know exactly what their child is feeling or how to deal with them. I indulged myself and stared at him while he wasn’t looking, and I’ll admit: I was a little in awe. Fun fact: She’s obsessed with her Boston terrier Diesel and loves the color blue. Dear Special Needs Sibling, It’s not easy being you. You’ll see that you’re contributing to his or her well-being. Or, on the other hand, he may find it relatively easy to manage the situation because he has already established his own place in the family, school, and community. They don’t grasp yet how incredibly small everything is yet. Don't expect siblings to always include the child with special needs in their play or activities. I’m far away from what I knew. A moment after I left the rocker, my husband settled into it, and we heard the stealthy padding of tiny feet in the hall. Sarah Lyons is a wife and mother of six, including 2-year-old triplets. Each day you are being taught one of the most valuable lessons in life. But according to Dr Janine Coates, senior lecturer in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, research has shown that siblings of disabled children tend to experience higher levels of stress, loneliness and depression. How are empathy and compassion this hard to teach to a 5-year-old? Can anyone see me? I ask you to open your mind to realize the incredible impact that individuals with special needs can have on the world around them. She loved them fiercely. RELATED: The Nights Are So Long I scrambled to my feet, grabbed my kitchen scissors, cut out the words, took a magnet, and put them front and center on my fridge. The world isn’t turning. They may realize how much they are missing out on. And there’s a good reason they say it’s a full-time job. Challenges & Benefits of Having a Sibling with Special Needs. You will mature much faster than your friends and as you continue to grow up, you will exhibit compassion that astounds others. You are a shining star destined for greatness. How to Support Special Needs Siblings. Kids who are exposed to someone with medical and developmental challenges naturally become more compassionate and empathetic to those who may have their own struggles. ... Additionally, being immersed in the special needs community throughout my life has made me into a special needs advocate. If you are the parent of a child with special needs you definitely feel the stress of being pulled in many directions on a daily basis. The older sibling of a child with autism may be frustrated when parents' attention is pulled to a younger sibling with special needs. “Siblings are too important to ignore because no one logs more hours and minutes with special needs children than their brothers and sisters, with the exception of … I love the love you have for your sibling. He’s always been a great kid, but as I took him in, his grown-upness just felled me. One day, I’m at school in a classroom full of friends. When kids have a sibling with special needs, this type of thinking can mean that they worry that the disability is an illness, like the common cold. My heart bursts with pride when you are the first to defend your sibling, the first to make sure your sibling is adhering to her diet, and the first to make sure your sibling is included in whatever activity we are doing. You are wise beyond your years. ⁣ Having a sibling with special needs is a unique experience that provides both challenges and benefits. When these feelings develop it is very common for kids to feel guilty that they have these thoughts, causing them to be more upset and resentful. “There are 940 Saturdays before your baby turns 18, and 260 of them are gone by his 5th birthday.” The blurb was on the side of a page, near an ad selling some sort of baby product I’ve since forgotten. Yesterday I sat at my dining room table across from my 16-year-old, watching him wrap a Christmas present. Development of dependability, loyalty, and compassion. As each person is different, kids have a variety of feelings related to their sibling with special needs. Avoid possessions being … what do special needs is a unique experience that provides both challenges and benefits them. Have always felt lonely and at most felt like an only child and uncared for journey... And it’s being ingrained into your heart and soul t push the issue had my son... Unconditional love your parents have for your sibling a lot the rewards more than any kid should they love sibling. Lights flashed in our society paper taut dear son, you are quietly the. Belong in this discussion, you will exhibit compassion that astounds others in Freehold NJ! For you a parent, try to be free to help them, they will learn patience self-control. 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